Once the major players in this year’s free agency, Dwight Howard and Chris Paul, signed their new contracts, a lot of focus has been on the free agency of the summer of 2014. Now reports are circulating that the Lakers could be in the hunt to land both LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony.
The Lakers are obviously keeping their salary slim leading up to that year and could potentially have a clean slate, similar to Miami in 2010, and with LeBron and Melo both having options to become free agents, the speculation has already begun. Kobe even addressed it in an interview saying King James coming to L.A. was not a “stretch.” Sources at ESPN differ as some report that and/or James and Anthony joining the Lakers is a strong possibility.
Opinions are split on whether the Lakers can actually land James or Anthony, with one source calling it "realistic" and another saying it was "far-fetched at this point." Nonetheless, the Lakers have made it clear they are positioning themselves for a run at one and perhaps even two of the superstars who could become free agents in 2014 by refusing to commit to any contract past this next season, multiple sources have said.
The fact of the matter is no one knows what will happen next summer, including LeBron and Carmelo, but the possibility is certainly intriguing.
"It's all wishful thinking at this point," a league source with knowledge of the situation told ESPN. "Teams are doing more wishing than LeBron is wanting right now.
"It's not about where LeBron wants to go [to win]. He already has two rings. If LeBron moved to Reno, teams would come to him."
Anthony's plans also remain unclear for next summer, but one source close to the situation told ESPN that it would "make sense" for him to exercise the early-termination option on his contract after next season to become a free agent and secure either a four- or five-year extension.
With Kobe unwilling to take a paycut, would the Lakers consider signing two huge names like LBJ and Melo if it means not signing an aging Mamba?